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Maveryck Gardner (right) shows off his new moves at camp on Friday as he defeats his older brother Konner Gardner, a current RSHS wrestler. (Kyle Pillar, Sports Editor)

HAMLET – The thud of bodies hitting the mat and detailed instructions filled the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy gymnasium Friday.

Richmond Senior High School’s second annual wrestling camp under head coach Andre’ Ellerbe came to a conclusion as interest in the sport continued to grow.

This summer, there were a total of 13 participants in the camp – six elementary school participants and seven middle school wrestlers.

“The camp went really well this week,” said Ellerbe. “The main focus was to get the kids excited about wrestling and I think we accomplished that. They had a blast and it was a very entertaining experience.”

“Our campers were able to see many demonstrations from our Raider wrestlers,” he continued. “I was glad to have so many of our wrestlers here to show our campers how to do things right.”

During the week, the wrestlers worked on several sport fundamentals and initial movements. The participants also improved their fitness with many cardio and strength exercises.

Current Richmond wrestlers who helped lead Friday’s session included rising seniors Adam Estridge and Jackson Hamilton and rising sophomores Konner Gardner and Hayden Smith.

Ellerbe said a lot of emphasis was placed on the basic movements of the sport – shots, arm pulls, overhead and underhead starts, crossface (cradles) and near ankles, standups, switches and Peterson (rolls).

“We tried to give everyone two or three plays from each position so everyone has something to work on when we’re done with camp,” Ellerbe said.

Other Richmond wrestlers who helped throughout the week included rising senior K’Mauri Morgan and rising junior Jordan Hamilton.

Former Richmond wrestlers Jaxson Martin, Naaman Perakis and Amir Vaughan also volunteered their time and instruction.

The final portion of camp on Friday was spent on the mat, where campers, along with instructors, competed in live wrestling matches to test their newly acquired techniques.

When asked what the best part of the camp was, Ellerbe pointed to the potential for a strong wrestling program in the county in the foreseeable future.

“Thursday was our first day of live wrestling and seeing the younger guys and their aggressiveness was encouraging,” concluded Ellerbe. “This is great for our community and our program.”

“They executed their punches correctly, hit their arm strokes correctly and prepared their movements. I was very, very proud of them for accomplishing that.”

Below are photos from Friday’s wrestling camp, taken by sports editor Kyle Pillar.